COVID-19 Guidelines: Why Won’t Some People Comply?

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It’s mid July 2021 in Paris and people have taken to the streets to protest COVID-19 vaccine certificates. This isn’t anything new – from Australia to America and everywhere in-between, the world has seen a multitude of COVID-related protests in the last year; from anti-vaxxers, to anti-masks, to anti-lockdown. But why are some groups so intent on not following the healthcare recommendation?

The University of Australia conducted a study assessing people’s behaviors and attitudes towards the pandemic regulations in Australia, UK, the USA, and Canada. The study recruited 1575 participants and assessed their behaviors, attitudes, personality, cognitive/decision-making ability, resilience, adaptability, coping, political and cultural factors, and information consumption during the first wave.  It was found that 10% of the sample population was not compliant. Contrary to what the media may say, the study found that those of an older generation were more likely to be part of the 10% and males were more likely than females to be less complicit.

What about an individual makes them more likely to not comply?

The study found that individuals that were less likely to comply were less agreeable (cooperative & considerate). It was also found that people belonging to this group were more extroverted, however, less intellectual as a personality trait – meaning that they are less willing to try new experiences. Additionally, individuals would also prioritise freedom and self-interest and believe that their society is more tolerant towards deviant behaviors.

The headline to Dr Ross’s 1885 pamphlet denouncing smallpox vaccination. (HathiTrust Digital Library)

Is there anything we can do to increase pandemic compliance?

 Well yes actually! Associate professor Kleitman of the University of Australia identified two key strategies to which he believes can shift non-compliant individuals’ attitudes and behaviors:

  1. Focus more attention/resources on regulating and monitoring misinformation. It seems that non-compliers tend to use nonofficial sources for COVID-19 information. In addition, they will not verify the legitimacy of the information.
  2. Frame some public health messages to appeal to self-interest. This may be more effective in promoting positive behavior change among non-compliant people than appealing to social obligations.

Are there certain people more likely to comply?

Yes! Just for one’s interest, those who are from the younger generation and those that are educated. Additionally, it was found that those at a higher risk due to poorer health are more inclined to follow recommendations and regulations.

CDC Encourages COVID Vaccine With Stickers, Buttons

if you are curious about COVID and vaccinations here are some links to read up on!

Online Source: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0255268

Original Source: “To comply or not comply? A latent profile analysis of behaviors and attitudes during the COVID-19 pandemic” by Sabina Kleitman et al. PLOS ONE

Featured Image: https://www.cagle.com/tag/protesting/

Edited by Cyrus Rohani-Shukla

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